Middle East Language Learning in U.S. Higher Education: Ten Years after 9/11

Thousands of American students want to acquire professional-level fluency in the languages of the Middle East, but relatively few actually succeed. Research we have conducted over the past eight years suggests that far more students could succeed. Middle East Language Learning in U.S. Higher Education: Ten Years after 9/11 contains up-to-date information on: enrollment trends through fall 2011, survey results on students' motivation for learning these languages and on the challenges language teachers face that are undercutting national capacity, and specific recommendations for dealing with these and other challenges. We also present case studies of innovative language programs that point the way to outside-the-box solutions that could empower far more students to acquire the language and culture skills they desire and assume the role they hope to play in assisting the U.S. to engage the world positively and effectively.

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A number of colleagues have commented that this research report and recommendations have been valuable for helping them formulate strategies to deal with the challenges and opportunities their language programs presently face. We have received some good suggestions for improving the report and implemented many of them. If you have suggestions, please send them to nmelrc@byu.edu.

Many, many thanks to all who have helped in any way!